Communication breakdowns and upsets can happen for a lot of hidden and confusing reasons. I have had many people come to me who have done a ton of personal growth work, counseling and workshops and they are still frustrated by getting their buttons pushed by their partner, boss or whoever steps on your last nerve on a bad day.
Before I began studying NVC or Compassionate Communication in 2000, I was shutting down and blowing up constantly- it was frustrating and confusing for all involved. As you can imagine, my relationship was a hair ball of drama.
With over 15 years of intensive training and practice I have learned a lot about why we shut down, react, become defensive and sometimes say things that make things worse instead of better.
Which of these communication challenges keep you from speaking up?
1). Do you worry about the other person’s reaction?
Truth- do you ever swallow your frustrations in silence because you can’t imagine how to even begin the conversation or you feel afraid of another’s reaction? We all have been there- I started there 15 years ago.
With any new skill, it’s important to structure a safe way to build your confidence– (i.e. not with your family of origin :-)) No different than any team sport- you create success by building skills incrementally with guidance and others who are of like mind and intent. In a class or practice group you can safely try out skills you need most in the conversations you really wish you could have but often avoid or bungle trying.
The truth is you can’t change lifelong patterns until you have new skills, awareness and like-minded people to practice those new skills with.
2). Are these myths keeping you silent and “skill-less?”
Over and over again, I see how we all have these unspoken assumptions that we are the only ones who struggle with relationships or that everyone else has perfect, happy relationships and we’ll be judged if we share our fears, disappointments or shortcomings. These myths keep us stuck in patterns of internalized shame and judgment.
In a practice group setting we discover that we ALL have fears and share the same universal needs for being heard and understood, for kindness, caring and understanding. The practice group serves as a safe way to re-pattern old family dynamics into new ways of being. We restore our sense of power and possibility by finding understanding and greater self-compassion in practicing with others.
3). Would you hire your parents as relationship experts?
Most of us role our eyes at the thought! I liken my family communication “training” to playing tennis with a bat …frustrating, exhausting and not much fun! Then imagine… I’m nearly 40, and someone says, ” Hey, there ‘s this thing called a tennis racquet and it makes playing tennis a lot more fun… why the heck are you playing with a bat anyway? Well, if you only had bats in your family and no tennis court… what else would you do?! Without the right tools, modeling and support- relationships can be frustrating, exhausting and not much fun!
What if you could create a new possibility for having more ease and fun in your relationships? Having support and guidance through classes or in private sessions can help you start changing those patterns in real time.
4). Do you get triggered by family members?
One of the biggest reasons we struggle in our closest relationships is that our new skills are easily hijacked by getting our buttons pushed. It is impossible to integrate new skills in present time when the pain of the past implodes into the current moment. Unloading the past is essential to creating a different NOW. If you fail to address this, you set yourself up for frustration and disappointment.
Learning simple ways you can unload your nervous system with methods such as TRE, EFT and Access Consciousness, to name a few, will make your learning process smoother and more effective. What are you currently doing to unload old patterns to make room for new possibilities?
If you’d like to learn more about easy ways to stay “trigger free”, contact me for a complimentary phone consult to discuss tools you can start using right away.
5). Do you beat yourself up with unrealistic expectations?
We all want instant change, instant mastery—AND, I’m here to gently remind you that handling ancient battles with your angry ex-husband or your overbearing mother requires OLYMPIC level skills. It took me EIGHT years of training to hold my own with my mother. Consistent practice, enduring patience, cultivating self-acceptance and inner kindness are keys to creating ease in your relationship with yourself and others. Having group support helps us to remember that we are all human and that relationships are a practice not a Disney movie to aspire to. Over time, being real with each other in a group setting, quiets our inner critic and gives way to a gentler, more peaceful state of mind and heart. Finding inner peace and freedom is not a solo venture- I really do believe it does take a village.
Who is on your support team for inner kindness, peace and freedom?
Kristi Dee Doden